Thursday, 4 April 2013

Interesting links from w/e 28-03-2013

Here are some links I liked last week - will post some more from this week tomorrow.
  1. Education in:
    • Africa - a good article from SA on teachers & quality; and a blogpost hosted by MSDF from the founder of SA-based LEAP schools calling for local "impact schools"
    • India - a paper looking at Gyan Shala and arguing that its time to move beyond state vs non-state ideological battles and look at quality, equity, scale & sustainability on a mixed approach; and an amusing volte-face on Aakash low-cost tablets as one govt minister gets bounced by another more heavyweight one
    • LatAm - more lessons from a pioneering region, a "10-years later" follow-up to an RCT of a conditional cash transfer program that was tied to young children going to school finds sustained gains in schooling and learning many years after the program stopped
    • Ed-tech - a provocative blog on ed-tech solutionism that has some interesting questions and observations
  2. A good op-ed by Simon Johnson (ex-IMF chief economist) on the consequences for intergenerational inequality in the US via unfair austerity hits on low-income pre-schoolers
  3. A interesting article by Matt Bishop in the next Economist on property rights, the poor and economic growth
  4. A good constructive critique of US philanthropy by Rob Reich and…
  5. …a barnstorming criticism of international philanthropies & NGOs by Andrew Mwenda (a good - and brave - independent journalist in Uganda)
  6. If you're interested in the Kenyan election & appeal saga, an unusual comparison from Foreign Policy of the lessons for the West from Austria & Waldheim for Kenya & Uhuru Kenyatta; a worthwhile quick piece on the very delicate situation that South Asians in Kenya have to navigate; an overdue piece noting the self-censorship of the Kenyan media at a time when it ought to have been asking awkward questions (a case of the dog that didn't bark; to his credit Gado from XYZ Show called out as one of the few pugnacious ones); a remarkably telling old photo that captures all four Kenyan presidents (democracy anyone?); and lastly a further telling remark by political-scion, richest-Kenyan, ICC-indictee and president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta referring to the Kenyan Supreme Court currently reviewing the election as "some six people [who will] decide something or other" (democracy again anyone?)
  7. On openness-for-its-own-sake, a good piece by Tom Whimsley (that Zillow real estate platform sounds horrible), and a nice piece by Panthea Lee
  8. For those who think Botswana is a beacon, this is a must-read (tourists can spend more time in San-country than the San themselves...and did anyone say diamonds?)
  9. This is a lovely first-person piece by a small-scale farmer in Malawi (note the "conservation agriculture" he refers to is zero-till farming which is ecologically sounder, raises yields, has been part of the transformation of the Brazilian cattle-feed industry, and was used in the dustbowls of Australia and the Mid-West)
  10. From the world of measurement: a fantastic (& damning!) RCT that shows confirmation-bias (in this case in microfinance, but in fairness probably also for any other area where humans are involved), and a linked piece on the need for a willingness to take risk and learn from failure in development (a la failfests)
  11. For those who follow drones (as opposed to are followed by drones), here's a graphic on every drone-strike in Pakistan, and here's a piece where we discover that brave drone-operators call a successful kill a "bugsplat" (of course, gamification-culture and "war games" right, ain't that swell?)
  12. From the world of science: MRI scans show correlations between brain activity patterns and future criminal reoffending, while social isolation shortens lifespan even after controlling for health & socioeconomic factors
  13. A nice graphic on SIM card prices in Myanmar - liberation technologists, please proceed to claim causation for the Myanmar re-opening (intra-elite politics and Chinese over-stepping behind the scenes of course have nothing to do with it, it is all tech - a "Yangon Spring" anyone?)
  14. The sins that are revealed after the grave: for those who may know of Patrice Lumumba (first elected PM of the DRC) and recall his brutal death and acid-destruction of body twelve weeks after the election, here's a letter from an English lord revealing that MI6 was a conspirator in having him killed (scroll down to "We did it")

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